Sunday, June 14, 2015

BTS noise

Comment by a follower of this website:

"Funny to learn that BTS have a campaign to encourage travelers to stop using mobile phone in order not to disturb the others while they are themselves disturbing all passengers by blasting their TV!"

Monday, March 09, 2015

Museum of Endangered Sounds

In the unrelenting advance of modern civilisation we create new noises and sounds. The old sounds vanish without our being aware of the sonic treasures lost for ever. But not quite. One of us has established a "Museum for Endangered Sounds", where old sounds are conserved. Nothing more transient than sounds of the past, we might have thought. Browse for a few moments in forgotten experiences which are still stored in our memories, the sound of a clock mechanism, a mechanical typewriter, the clicking and whirring of devices that passed into oblivion, pests of the past, but nevertheless relics which we can again bring to life. Curious echoes of other times.
A salute to Brendan Chilcutt, creator of the website;  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pollution, Noise Forces Temple Sale

Chon Buri: An abbot is offering to sell his temple and land in Muang district for two billion baht, announcing he has had enough after over a decade of pollution from the nearby Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate, which had driven away all the monks.
A large 'for sale" banner has been put up in front of Wat Mab Sam Kliew in tambon Hua Raw in Muang district.
It says: "Urgent sals as Amata has caused environmental problems to the temple for over 10 years".
The abbot, Phra Khru Vibul Suphakorn, said trucks made so much oise the monks could not sleep or meditate.
After the sign went up, Hua Raw municipality and representatives of Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate went to meet the abbot.
A spokesman from the estate, Apicchart Sektheera, said the company would monitor noise levels.
Bangkok Post 13 November 2014

So that is alright then! Meanwhile there is an alternative to sleep and meditation in a facility made available by AMATA:
No further information is available on the fate of Wat Mab Sam Kliew. Quiet Bangkok is investigating.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Noise of Sport, the sport of noise

It appears that the thunderous noise of Formula One (F1) racing cars is even more important than their speed or the skill of the drivers.
Formula One fans want to hear just one thing: noise and lots of it.
At the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne earlier this month, the first race of the 2014 season, the fans weren’t happy. And neither were F1 bosses.
This year, the cars are fitted with quieter V6 turbo-powered engines, replacing the V8s that roared around the world’s tracks last season. The result of the shift is that you can barely hear a pin drop, relatively speaking.
Many fans are angry that one of the most important aspects of their sport – its wall of sound – has been tempered. Formula 1 cars have to look fantastic, but it would appear they must also emit a noise to match.
Bernie Ecclestone, the head of the sport, said he was ‘horrified’ by the noise reduction, while his close friend Ron Walker, the chief of the Australian Grand Prix, warned that promoters like him could abandon the sport over the issue.
Walker complained that fans in the grandstand at Melbourne could barely hear the cars coming down the straight. ‘When you take the excitement away, you have trouble selling tickets,’ he said.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bang Saeng Hell

Yes, this is what it looks like, umbrellas and crowds right down to the water's edge. But what it does not show is the NOISE. Wishing to flee the madness of Bangkok, a Sunday in Bang Saeng seemed the option. Oh no! Wang Mok is as great a restaurant as ever. But the well know "Hell" of Bang Saeng, showing the suffering of the damned is small change compared to the noise on the sea front.
There are now LOUD announcements of the imminent departure of minibus number xxxxx for Bangkok, repeated every three, perhaps I exaggerate, ever four minutes. Between the announcements your beer loud drinking  neighbours carry on a manic laughing commentary on life, the universe, and everything to the accompaniment of squeaky radio musik. Besides, the setting sun reflects infra red rays into your eyes from the sea surface!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

..the Neighbours complaining

"A new Bluetooth speaker shows that size isn't everything

They say good things come in tiny packages and that certainly holds true for the Xxxxxxxxxx, a portable Bluetooth speaker small enough to fit in the girlfriend's handbag but boasting so much volume that it will have the neighbours complaining."

A news item suggesting that noise enhances sale potential 
Throw the wretched things in the canal.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Noise Invades Blog of Quiet

 This morning a noise measurement was recorded in a Bangkok suburb.
Noise level of morning family conversation: 57 decibels
Noise level when Bangkok protests were discussed: 73 decibels


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Singing Doves Join Government Opposition

              The ubiquitous singing doves of Bangkok have learned to make the sound of a protest whistle!
              Monitored on morning of 30th November

Whistle Sound Damages Hearing

 Blowing the Whistle
A single whistle blow ranges between 104 to 116 decibels, far exceeding safe noise levels.

Referees are exposed to almost 36 times maximum daily dose of noise in one game

 And whistle blowing protesters ?

Whistles and Earplugs

Bangkok is invaded by an intrusive, antidemocratic, harmful, obnoxious, invasive, noise pestilence. While the expression of opinion should be sacrosanct, this cacophonous attack on our quiet is not a legitimate tactic. It is an insult to intelligence, a denial of dialogue, an attack on civilised value, and a danger to our valuable sense of hearing. Express opinion, yes. Hold up banners and declarations, yes. But spare us this plague of noise of which we already have a surfeit.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

People pay to have their Quiet annihilated!

A red alert for the latest attack on Quiet:
Hype for headphones reads:
Featuring a 50mm driver, a built-in headphone amplifier and rechargeable battery (lasting up to 12 hours) it offers an explosive bone-jarring, brutally-powerful bass experience.
I would run a mile to escape from one!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bangkok Post today - 29/9/2013

Turn down the volume before it's too late

Fed up with the noise pollution making life a misery in his Pattaya home and despairing of finding tranquility elsewhere in Thailand, a stressed-out writer recently jetted off to Myanmar in search of peace and quiet.
He made it to the secluded Chaungtha Beach near Yangon and settled in just ahead of the weekend exodus from the former capital.
Along came a convoy of SUVs and tour buses. The new arrivals erected giant speakers and a powerful sound system nearby, cranked up a noisy generator and a beachside karaoke session was under way.
He returned to Thailand convinced that whatever else Myanmar might be, it is not the promised land as far as stress relief is concerned.
The same could be said of China, Cambodia, India or a score of other countries, because no matter how enticing the marketing hype, rarely is the proverbial grass greener on the other side of the hill, especially if that hill is in Asia. For this is a continent where cities thrive on noise, and nowhere is this more evident than in Bangkok.
Despite its high decibel level, the capital is consistently voted one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. Although that puts the battle waged against the pervasive culture of noise in a more positive light, it is questionable whether the judges actually live here.
If so, they cannot have failed to notice that the racket that envelops every shopping mall, children's playground, hospital waiting area, street, bus or train station often reaches dangerous levels.
Some people are just not happy unless they are flooded with competing sources of noise.
This even extends to public parks, where blaring loudspeakers disrupt attempts to seek solitude and refuge.
The loss of serenity and tranquility is not limited to Bangkok. Once-peaceful provinces have had their calm shattered by deafening speaker arrays perched on temples and through loudspeakers on poles which blast rural folk with news, irrelevant announcements and music from dawn to dusk.
Even a boat trip down a countryside khlong can mean a headache brought on by the din of unmuffled engines.
But it may not always be this way. In the wake of a 2004 birthday speech by His Majesty the King, in which he lamented the fact that some people were having their ability to listen ruined by loud music, several groups sprang up determined to turn down Bangkok's volume and city officials busied themselves raiding noisy nightclubs.
That was followed by a revolt from skytrain commuters. Already irritated at being bombarded by screeching audio-visual advertisements from TV monitors on previously peaceful BTS station platforms, they were incensed when these were extended to inside the trains as well.
They saw themselves as a captive audience persecuted by noise pollution of the most intrusive kind.
The enthusiastic response from the travelling public to a petition-signing campaign suggested that many other commuters also felt they had paid their fare to use the BTS, not to be persecuted by noisy ads.
In the end the sheer convenience of the skytrain won out, the protest fizzled and the noisy video displays remained. While Japan might have banned the use of mobile phones and other noisy distractions on its trains because the cacophony annoyed commuters, the clear message being sent was that this would not happen here.
But the failed attempt to pacify the skytrain did turn out to be a catalyst for other anti-noise campaigns. Loud videos mixed with ads and shown to captive passengers on tour buses were targeted, as well as ads that were blasted at passengers on newer city buses, vendors advertising their goods on sale at high volume and department stores that had installed special video displays that detonated a burst of sound and vision whenever a potential customer walked past.
With the average noise level in Bangkok measured at 84dB, against the accepted safe level of 70dB, it is little wonder that a survey by the World Health Organisation several years ago found that more than 20% of the capital's population who lived alongside roads suffered from ''sensory neural hearing loss''.
Loud noise is recognised both as a form of psychological torture and a major symptom of a consumer society obsessed by materialism.
Municipal ordinances controlling noise pollution exist in Bangkok and throughout the world. The difference lies in enforcement. It is time we put the health of our nation before the interests of those inconsiderate and selfish people who exhaust our patience and exploit our tolerance.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Dream Website for Lovers of Quiet

Dream website of quiet and beauty

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

In Another City......

Noise Restrictions Imposed for Parks
 Dublin dwellers will be able the enjoy the sound of silence, or as near to it as possible, in some of the capital's parks. Seven parks and one beach will become "quiet areas" where noise levels must be kept below 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night. The noise regulations will restrict construction activity as well as road, rail and air traffic in the vicinity of the parks.
Parks which will be quiet areas must already be relatively quiet; some of the city's best known parks cannot qualify as the current noise level during the daytime exceeds 70 decibels (a lower level than in all of Bangkok's public parks!)
Existing laws already prohibit "nuisance noise" such as playing of musical instruments, radios or stereos at a pitch that would "give reasonable cause for annoyance". The quiet area policy is designed to combat "environmental noise", and aims primarily to minimise noise from outside the parks.
New laws to implement silence in the parks will be enforced by on-the-spot fines.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Last Refuge from Noise Invaded


Noisemaker allows you to take your favourite music underwater
The ultimate personal music player for those with an active lifestyle, will soon have you doing the breaststroke to The Beatles.

An MP3 player designed to be wearable without the need of a headphone cord, the Swimman is completely waterproof, meaning you can stick the phones in your ear and submerge yourself in the water all while listening to your favourite songs. Noisemaker says the MP3 player can be used under water to a depth of 2 metres but should never be used in seawater and mustn't come into direct contact with sand.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Humans Destroy the Orchestra of Nature

“The great orchestra of nature is, little by little, being silenced”
“LE MONDE | Mis à jour le 01.04.2013 à 13h10 Propos recueillis par Marie-Béatrice Baudet”
Musician from an early age, American Bernie Krause, 74, remains one of the emblematic figures of electronic music. He coined the term biophonie, the sounds made by living organisms. It is an orchestra of nature which he has studied and loved throughout a lifetime. In a recent interview he expressed his regret that the orchestra of nature is falling silent.
Starting in the 1960s he recorded the sounds in nature of more than 15,000 species of animals over 4500 hours. “Nature lives in acoustic harmony. Temperate or tropical forests each generate their own acoustic signature, which is an organized expression of insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. Each creature occupies a slot in the sound spectrum, blending with the background sounds of nature, wind in trees, the sounds of flowing water, or rain. Whatever the purpose of a signal - mating, hunting, home defense, game - to fulfill its function, it must be audible and without interference. It is this natural voice and collective harmony to which I am referring when I talk about the animal orchestra”.
The contemporary world of human sound has disrupted the orchestra of nature. Mining, logging, urban sprawl, and the resulting pollution, reduce the area of ​​wildlife habitat. Similarly, by embedding the natural sounds under our cacophony, we disrupt or destroy nature itself. When birds can no longer hear the song s of other birds, they cease to sing.
Some animals, such as insects, are more affected than others. In tropical forests, predators try to adapt because it is more difficult to hear their prey. Human noise can also weaken the immune system of mammals and fish, reducing their resistance to disease, natural physiological result of high levels of stress hormone. In the most serious cases, when tolerances are exceeded, it can be fatal.
“The sad truth is that almost 50% of the habitats listed in my archives collected during these forty-five years are now so severely degraded that many of these natural sounds, once so rich, can no longer be heard today even approximately, in their original form.”

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Comment on "Guardian"

"I used to love music. Then I discovered silence."

Monday, September 03, 2012

Light relief from noise

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard.
I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.
He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head. He then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall
and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'
The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: 'He lives in a home with non stopping chatting wife, 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep.

Can I come with him tomorrow?

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Books on Silence

"Manifesto for Silence"
Edinburgh University Press, 2007
Hardback edition $32

"In Pursuit of Silence"
Anchor Books, New York, 2010
Paperback edition, 2011, $15.95

The two books shown are a welcome addition to the available literature on silence and noise. The titles and subtitles give a hint of the priorities of the two authors, the priority is silence and its value, the backgrounds are the World of Noise, the Politics and Culture of Noise.
They overlap in their abhorrence of noise, the ubiquity of meaningless sound and its exploitation by commerce. While both admire the value placed on Quiet in religious traditions, especially by Quakers and Christian monks, their treatments of noise and silence diverge. Both explore the world of noise. For Sim this is an intellectual quest, pursued in religion, philosophy, aesthetics, the arts, literature, language and speech. His treatment is highly academic, whether in the writings of the philosophers, Kant, Wittgenstein, Derrida, and Lyotard, or in esoteric examples of "silent" practice. An example of the former are his quote of John Cage's Lecture on Nothing:
I am here, and there is nothing to say. If among you are those who wish to get somewhere, let them leave at any moment. What we require is silence; but what silence requires is that I go on talking....." .
As examples of constructed silence he refers several times to the musical composition of Cage's work for piano, 4' 33"
for which there are no notes on the page for the soloist to play. He associates with silence too, the paintings of Mondrian, or monochrome paintings such as Kasimir Malevich's White Square on a White Ground. In literature he admires the silences of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.
For those who value quiet voyages of the mind, this is the book.

But to enter the push and pull world of quiet and noise, Prochnik is the better guide. While he too explores the Quaker world and the cell of the monk in search of silence, he tours the battlefields of noise, the shopping malls, and even "Explosive Sound and Video", 'principality of Tommy, the King of Bass'. He experiences the jungle of boom cars, inhabited by people named MP3 Pimp, Big Red accompanied by Big Red's Lady, where the sound systems of cars shatter windscreens and shop windows. In the confined space of a car crammed with amplifiers, the sound level can reach peaks of 161 decibels. There is mention of a peak of 181-plus in dB Drag, an experience of Bass Racing. ".. at 163 and higher the air has ceased to be air. Competitors today were already hitting in the low 18Os. But once you hit 194 decibels, sound ceases to be sound...creating a shock wave. This is the realm of sonic booms and earthquakes"
In Pursuit of Silence is written in anecdotal style like most US thematic best sellers. Nevertheless it makes easy reading. It is full of practical suggestions, and can serve as a battle manual in the war against noise, although the author insists that a search for Silence is the wiser strategy.

The books are complementary; each has value. Both writers have a passionate distaste for noise in the modern world, and a love of silence which in one case borders on the mystical, while for the other it is a humane value to be fought for and won.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Update on the 20th century

Aldous Huxley, one of the great thinkers of the 20th century wrote on the problem of noise. He experienced the assault of radio on our minds. In rereading his words we can update the assault of noise to include all the debased technologies which carry on the task today. I say 'debased' rather than 'advanced', 'developed', or even 'new' with its connotation of hope'

On Silence
The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire -- we hold history's record for all of them. And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the eardrums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but usually create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas. And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ear, through the realms of phantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego's core of wish and desire. Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose -- to prevent the will from ever achieving silence. Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination. The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving. Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify the workings of that force, which (as all the saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its Divine Ground. — from Silence, Liberty, and Peace (1946)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Restaurant Noise

Today, hrdefender had lunch in the restaurant on the ground floor of Building A in the Chaeng Wattana Government complex. The food was excellent at a most reasonable price. Problem was the noise. The ambient noise at lunchtime measured 75 db, already far exceeding the 55 db recommended for restaurant noise. 55 db is the level where relaxed conversation is possible and thus too much to ask of a huge cafeteria. But the problem of the Building A ground floor restaurant was the awful scraping of chairs on a tiled floor. Everyone using the restaurant dragged out their chair, sat down, and dragged it in again, completely oblivious of the noise grenade launched in the whole resonating area. The noise meter surged to 82 or more decibels with every such noise event. This is a fourfold increase of noise power. Every chair gave out a different raucous tone, leading to a cacophony of squeaks and shrill wails which would enervate an angel. It seemed to have no effect on the lunching masses, but must contribute to the noxious role of persistent noise on all of us.  We can become oblivious to a constant noise source, a fan or air conditioner. We can even come to ignore a recurrent sound, a bell or passing train. But random noise escapes all deadening of perception.
The solutions are easy. Lift one's chair rather than dragging it. Or, put a cheap rubber cap on each leg of the chair. Neither will happen unless we train children to be attentive to simple noise limiting habits, or invest in the cheap technology of noise limitation. Unless we complain loudly and noisily Else, we go insane in an ever noise indifferent culture.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Those Wretched Decibels

A new European Index of noise
  A project aims to create Harmonica, by 2014, a new index of noise, simple to understand by the population. Traditional indicators combine data that reflect the intensity of noise in decibels and other aspects that measure events, such as horns, in addition to background noise. Currently, the noise maps indicate the noise levels generated by the transport infrastructure or industrial sites regardless of fluctuating noises. The variety of different noise sources is not always evaluated. The new index will include all the parameters by offering a simple scale ranging from 1 to 10. This will lead to the creation of an Internet portal for disseminating the results of the noise levels of different cities in Europe.

Road Noise Can Be Reduced

The Paris – Lyon motorway is the noisiest of the French capital, inhabited by more than 100 000 inhabitants over a distance of 35 km Measurements revealed that noise levels routinely exceed the permissible exposure limits, day and night. 61,000 people suffer the noise without respite.

Between 25 and 29 June, the pavement of the expressway has been replaced by a new acoustic cover. The process is expected to make a reduction of about 7 to 8 decibels (dB), the equivalent of a traffic reduction by a factor of 8.
Before starting work, indicators reported noise values
​​between 76 and 83 dB (A). This is significant because experts estimate that thre is a health hazard from 85 dB (A).

But a change of coating will not be enough. To truly reduce the noise, experts recommend reducing traffic speed, especially at night.

Another action, called "down a tone," is conducted on the terraces in Paris, which since the smoking ban in public places, have become the venue of revelers, causing conflict and exasperation of local residents. Five monitoring stations were installed on  terraces in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, to assess the volume.
Starting in September, warning systems will be tested. When a threshold, defined in consultation with local residents and the municipality, has been reached, owners will receive an SMS alert. Signs posted on the terraces will indicate the noise level in real time. A red light will indicate an excess of voice ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Great Restaurant which Turns Down Volume

A great, small, restaurant which turn downs the volume of the music on request.
   Phuket Town, 160/8 next to Thonglor 6
Soi 55, Sukhumwit

Whales too find noise disturbing

We all know that restaurant music is a noxious noise. But whales too suffer from noise:
Shipping noise causes chronic stress to whales, scientists have shown for the first time, after using the halt in marine traffic after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to conduct a unique experiment.
The effect on whales of propeller noise, military sonar and explosions set off in the search for oil and gas is highly controversial. Environmental campaigners claim the noise interferes with the singing of whales, or even kills the animals, and are currently suing the US government over the navy's use of sonar.
The research, published on Wednesday, provides the first evidence of physical harm, according to Rosalind Rolland, a researcher at the New England Aquarium, in Boston, US.
"We showed whales occupying oceans with high levels of ship noise have a chronic stress response," said Rolland, who led the study. "We knew whales changed the frequency of their calls to adapt to the ship noise, but this work shows it is not merely an annoyance – it is having a physical effect."
Guardian, Feb. 8th

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Noise Pollution in World's Oceans

Not content with noise polluting on land, we are polluting the world's oceans. Whales and dolphins can no longer communicate or navigate over distance, due to increasing noise pollution in the seas. Sources of the noise are increasing commercial shipping, new types of military sonar, and oil prospecting of the seabed. At the same time chemical pollution of the seas makes their water more acidic allowing noise to proliferate further.

And when, in the not too distant future, Bangkok sinks beneath rising sea levels ...., will we have perfected waterproof boom boxes so that we will go down like the Titanic with the band playing?

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Book of Silence

Quiet Bangkok cannot wait to get hands on this newly published book.

"Vocal feminist and mother Maitland has always craved silence, and over the past five years has spent time in the Sinai desert, the Australian bush and the Isle of Skye. As well also looks at the history and concept of silence.

If you read it before I do please post a comment!


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bangkok first, then Paris

400 Large LCD Screens Installed in Paris Metro

Three years after Bangkok, Paris has installed large (two metre square) screens in the one hundred stations of its Metro rapid transport system, spewing advertisements and the like. And to think that Quiet Bangkok had admired French intitiatives in urban noise control. However, the citizens of Paris are made of sterner stuff than making polite complaint. Comments on the news have already resulted in a call to arms. Quiet Bangkok has also rushed to the rescue:
Nous avons ces types d'ecrans deja a Bangkok, ils deviennent plus grands et on les trouve partout. En lieu de voir le 'cityscape' on voit le publicite banal. On croyait que les Parisiens aiment mieux le silence et trouvent le bruit insupportable.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

13th International Noise Awareness Day

"You may not wish to speak;
just sit without words
day and night by my heart's side" Tagore

April 16th is the 13th International Noise Awareness Day
Participate by the simple act of 60 seconds of “No Noise” from 2.15 to 2.16 pm regardless of location. This one minute period will highlight the impact noise has on our hearing and health.

Recipe for A Quiet Diet
Take these few, simple steps to preserve the peace and quiet in your life:
Pay attention to the noises you make and respect your neighbor's right to peace and quiet.
Turn down the volume two notches on your radios and personal stereo systems with headphones.
Turn down the volume one notch on your television.
Do NOT honk your horn, except in the case of imminent danger.
Do NOT tip taxi drivers who honk their horns illegally.
Avoid noisy sports events, restaurants, rock concerts and nightclubs unless you use hearing protection.
Replace noisy activities with quiet ones such as taking a walk, visits to libraries and museums.
Ask your health club instructor to lower the music.
Ask the film theater manager to turn down the volume.
Wear adequate hearing protection if you must be in a noisy environment (the subway, mowing the lawn)
Turn off the television during dinner and have a quiet conversation instead.
Get a hearing screening.
Organize a meeting to review (or develop) a local, enforceable noise ordinance.
Join Quiet Bangkok Group
Spread the word about the danger of noise,
and remember... OBSERVE ONE MINUTE OF NO NOISE FROM 2:15-2:16 P.M (regardless of location)



Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mosquito - Beethoven

A new device referred to as 'mosquito' or 'beethoven', to exclude adolescents from areas where it is used, has appeared. Consisting of a small box with a loudspeaker it emits sounds which oscillate between 17 kHz and 18 kHz, a range which can be heard only by children and adolescents. The emission is at 95 dBs and causes a disagreeable sensation to young people, and can give severe headache. It cannot be heard by older people and, strangely, does not appear to affect dogs. It is used outside shops or in areas where young people congregate and sometimes intimidate passersby. The effect of the device is to create child free zones. It is widely used in the UK. In other European countries parents protest use of the device. Belgium has refused to suspend sales of the device. It sells for about 500 Euro.
The device effectively criminalises all young people, the innocent as well as those who might cause offense to others. It also affects babies and young children who are not involved in objectionable behaviour.
It is difficult to understand that use of such a device is acceptable.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Concept of Parks

Famous Parks

Central Park New York City
“Central Park. A place of beauty and serenity. An escape from the noise of the city and the stresses of an urban life.”

Hyde Park London
“Hyde Park provides a welcome retreat from the noise and hurly-burly that defines much of London life.”

Bangkok Parks

Parks and Noise

Noise Machine in Bangkok Park
The following is a cri de coeur from a Thai artist against noise in parks, or anywhere else!
ปานชลี สถิรศาสตร์
เมื่อไม่นานมานี้ ผู้เขียนพาเพื่อนต่างชาติไปเที่ยวสวนหลวง ตั้งใจจะไปเดินดูสวนพฤกษชาติกันให้เพลิน ปรากฏว่าเสียงเพลงดังมากจนเดินไม่เป็นสุข ต้องวิ่งหากระดาษอุดหู ทนเดินสำรวจสวนที่มีเพลงลั่นด้วยความขุ่นใจ มีลำโพงอสุรกายตัวเขียวๆ ตั้งอยู่ที่พื้นเต็มสวน ไม่มีมุมไหนหลบเสียงได้
เพื่อนฝรั่งเคืองมาก ถามว่าทำไมสวนบ้านเราถึงดังเหมือนอยู่ในร้านเหล้า ผู้เขียนตอบว่า ผู้ว่าฯกทม. สุดรักของชาวกรุงคนนี้ คงจะไม่เคยไปเดินในสวนสาธารณะของใครอื่น ถึงไม่รู้ว่าสวนสาธารณะควรจะเงียบสงบ และท่านก็คงไม่มีเวลามาเดินดูสวนเอง ก็เลยไม่รู้ว่าลูกน้องของท่าน เปิดเพลงชวนปวดประสาท ฟังแล้วเจ็บหัวใจเหมือนถูกผึ้งต่อยได้ปานนี้
สมัยเป็นนักเรียน ผู้เขียนมักจะนัดเพื่อนๆ มาอ่านหนังสือในสวน สวนที่สงบเงียบ ทำให้มีสมาธิในการจดจำอย่างเอกอุ ทั้งเป็นขาประจำของการเดินออกกำลังในสวน หอบหนังสือไปอ่านเอางานไปนั่งทำเงียบๆ เสมอ แต่หลังจากมีความคิดวิปลาสเอาลำโพงไปตั้งในสวนกระจายเสียง จนอ่านหนังสือไม่รู้เรื่อง ทำให้ไม่อยากไปอีก
ทุกครั้งที่เดินทางไปต่างแดน ผู้เขียนจะต้องหาโอกาสไปเดินชมสวนก่อน สวนในยุโรปมักร่มรื่น สงบเงียบสุดแสน เหมือนเดินในวิมานแมน การทำสวนให้เงียบเป็นที่หย่อนใจสำหรับประชาชน เป็นสิ่งที่ผู้ว่าการของเมืองต่างๆ มีหน้าที่ต้องส่งเสริมเป็นลำดับต้นๆ เพิ่งไปเยือนสวนชาวอินโดฯ และสวนชาวอินเดียมา หลายแห่งเหมือนเดินในป่า สวนญี่ปุ่นให้เคารพต่อความยิ่งใหญ่ของธรรมชาติ การจัดสวนมีสุนทรียภาพเลิศล้ำ ให้ความชุ่มชื่นทั้งตาทั้งใจ วัดหลายแห่งมีสวนขนาดใหญ่ที่เงียบสงบอัศจรรย์ เวลาไปเดินแล้วรู้สึกจับใจจริงๆ แทบไม่อยากกลับ
หันมาดูสวนสาธารณะของเรา กระจายเสียงตั้งแต่เปิดสวน ติดลำโพงถี่ยิบ ส่งเสียงติดตามผู้ชมสวนไปทุกแห่งหน เป็นสิ่งที่สร้างความรำคาญและรกหูจนเหลือรับ ราวกับคนกรุงนั้นไม่เคยมีวิทยุที่บ้าน เปิดเพลงชาติดังจนปวดแก้วหู แถมเปิดเพลงรายการที่ดีเจพูดจาเจื้อยแจ้วเหมือนนกแก้ว เหมือนมีคนเดินตามตะโกนใส่หูทุกย่างก้าว
การยัดเยียดให้ฟังเพลง และข่าวสารบ้านเมืองเวลาออกกำลัง หรือเดินพักผ่อน ดูเหมือนจะกลายเป็นสิ่งที่ยึดถือกัน จนเป็นธรรมเนียมไปแล้วทุกมุมเมือง ทั้งในสวนและศูนย์สุขภาพ การฟังเพลงตลอดเวลานี้ นับเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่ได้อยู่ในทางมัชฌิมาปทา เป็นสิ่งที่ควรจะต้องคัดค้านกันให้แข็งขัน สวนสาธารณะนั้น ควรจะเป็นสถานที่ส่งเสริมให้สงบเงียบที่สุด เพื่อฝึกฝังให้เกิดความรักความงามสงบของธรรมชาติแก่เยาวชนด้วย
คนเราควรจะได้พักหูอยู่เงียบๆ กันให้มาก แม้ว่าเสียงไม่ดังนัก แต่ได้ยินนานๆ ก็ก่อความเครียด ทำให้ร่างกายหลั่งสารพิษเป็นอันตรายต่อสุขภาพอย่างร้าย ประสาทตึงเครียด ความดันโลหิตสูง โรคหัวใจถามหา ภูมิคุ้มกันบกพร่อง ขาดสมาธิที่จะคิดอ่านอะไรให้สร้างสรรค์ การออกกำลังโดยใช้เสียงเพลงที่มีลำโพงดังตูมตามในสวน ก็ผิดสุขอนามัย เสียงกระหึ่มเช่นนั้น ไม่เพียงแต่ทำให้หูพัง ยังทำร้ายปอดและหัวใจด้วย หญิงมีครรภ์ฟังเสียงดังนานๆ ก็ทำให้ทารกพิการได้ มีการวิจัยมาแล้ว คนที่ต้องฟังเพลงอยู่ตลอดเวลา ราวกับว่า โลกนี้จะขาดเพลงไม่ได้ แปลว่าขี้เหงา จิตใจขาดความมั่นคง บ้านเมืองเราเต็มไปด้วยคนแบบนี้มากๆ ต้องนับว่าเป็นกลียุค
การพักผ่อนสมองที่ดีที่สุดคือ การได้พักสายตา ดูต้นไม้เขียวๆ ฟังเสียงธรรมชาติที่ไม่ระคายหู การเดินในสวนที่เงียบสงบ จึงจะซึมซับความงามของต้นไม้ได้เต็มที่ ในทางธรรมความเงียบเป็นสิ่งที่พระพุทธองค์ทรงสรรเสริญอย่างยิ่ง นักปราชญ์ราชบัณฑิตทุกชาติล้วนให้คุณค่าความเงียบ เราจึงควรชักชวนเยาวชน ให้มารู้จักความมหัศจรรย์ของความสงบเงียบกันเข้าไว้
เห็นสวนสาธารณะของบ้านเมืองคนอื่นแล้ว ทั้งน่าชื่นชมและชื่นใจ แต่สวนของเราช่างเป็นสวนที่ครึกโครมเหมือนตลาดนัด ลำโพงในสวน โปรดเอาออกเสียเถิดท่านผู้ว่าฯ มีแต่ทำให้ขึ้งเคียด รำคาญ เพิ่มปริมาณคนหูตึงเข้าไปกันใหญ่ ทุกวันนี้หาที่พักผ่อนเงียบๆ ก็ไม่มี ไม่รู้จะหลบไปอยู่มุมไหน จะทำให้คนเป็นบ้ากันมากขึ้น
ได้ยินว่ามีคนร้องทุกข์เรื่องเสียงดังกันมาก แต่ผู้ว่าฯ กทม. ไม่ยักได้ยิน ถ้าผู้อ่านคนใดทำงานอยู่ที่เดียวกับท่าน ฝากบอกให้ท่านไปตรวจหูเสียงบ้าง สงสัยว่าท่านเองก็หูตึงเหมือนกัน
Protests have now become an avalanche. This abuse must stop

Monday, December 03, 2007

Safari World, Noise Show

Safari World - Another noise factory in Bangkok.

Dolphin Show, 80% young children in audience.
Loud speakers and amplifier at level of pain.
I stuffed my ears with tissue paper, not sufficient, industrial ear muffs required.
Left show, unable to bear.
Dolphins are said to have acute hearing, OMG!

And many of the animals in Safari Park appear sick!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Construction Site Noise

End in sight for residents in battle against building noise. Lee Klein does not need an alarm clock. He has been waking at 6am every day for the past several months.

For people in Bangkok's Pathum Wan district, the sound of construction work is their signal a new day is beginning.

"Cranes start up at 6am and you wake me up with hammers at 6am every weekend," expatriate Klein told contractors at a meeting of irate, sleep-deprived residents.

Klein lives in an apartment in the Grand Regent in Soi Mahadlekluang 2. The block is sandwiched by two construction sites.

The nightmare may soon be over following reconciliation between the community and contractors. It is a win-win deal for the community, the contractors and Pathum Wan district.

"This is the first time a Bangkok community has successfully negotiated with contractors," said Pathum Wan district director Surakiat Limcharoen.

There have been thousands of complaints about construction noise in Bangkok, but there has never been a collective complaint like that of the sleepless of Pathum Wan.

Led by resident Oraya Sutabutr, the community last month demanded contractors be more considerate about noise and shorten working hours on weekends. It also wanted dust control and care of public spaces.

Six more condominiums and hotels are being erected in Sois Mahadlekluang 1 to 3, adding to the half dozen already there. There is another construction site on nearby Lang Suan. This work causes noise and air pollution.

The contractors are Rittha, K-Tech, Jiangsu, Obayashi, Bouygues-Thai and Siphya Construction.

When building started some months ago, residents were angered by working hours that often started as early as 6am or even went around the clock.

They filed complaints with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and some of the problems were solved for a short period.

But Surakiat believed there would be no total solution unless the parties listened to each other's needs.

He arranged the recent meeting where the community asked contractors to start working in accordance with the law - which stipulates 8am to 10pm weekdays and 11am to 10pm on weekends as acceptable hours. Workers are required to take care when in public areas.

The community can punish contractors who ignore agreements struck at the meeting. Penalties include temporary closure for one day. For subsequent offences Bt100,000-a-day fines will be imposed and money used by the district for community improvement, such as footpaths for the disabled along Rajdamri Road and improvements to car parking at Wat Pathumwanaram.

"I'm just a middleman chairing the meeting. Everyone gets to say what they want," Surakiat says. "Nobody loses. And we get donations to improve our community, too."

Sirinya Wattanasukchai

The Nation

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Aung San Suu Kyi

Let us protest in every blog in the world against the continued detention of this heroic woman. Her current detention expires on 27th May

Sunday, May 13, 2007

An Image of Quiet for a Mad City

Quiet Bangkok recently had opportunity to walk in the magnificent parks of the City of Ottawa. No loud speakers, no aerobic hullabaloo; just quiet, birdsong, the sound of a breeze among the leaves. Will some of the demented administrators of Bangkok's parks cease to confuse a public park with a fairground!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Nuisance in Our Parks

Not only does the Superintendent of Suan Luang park not inspect the park to verify that noise levels are moderated, he tours the park to ensure that sound, i.e. noise levels, are high in every location. On April 13th during a visit to the park Quiet Bangkokian went to the sound control room of the park to query the increased noise levels and to request some peace from the loudspeaker network which now covers every 20 metres. The kindly official did indeed lower the nuisance level to a more tolerable level. However, the park management is completely oblivious of the concept that parks provide a natural environment that allows some opportunity of escape from urban noise and the opportunity to relax in the sounds and sights of nature.
Most countries have laws protecting park environments, limiting noise levels to maxima between 55 to 60 decibels, often with provision for further limitation in mornings and evenings.
Noise at the entrance to Suan Luang park exceeds these levels by a factor of 400 Noise within the park exceeds these levels by a factor of 10

อิ ส ร ภ า พ ท า ง หู

คุณหญิงจำนงศรี หาญเจนลักษณ์

ตีพิมพ์ในนิตยสาร Health & Cuisine
ฉบับที่ 75 เดือนเมษายน 2550

บทนี้ ขอเริ่มด้วยคำถามว่า “ความเงียบเป็นศัตรูที่ต้องปิดกั้น ส่วนเสียงเพลงเป็นเพื่อนที่ขาดไม่ได้ จริงหรือ”

มีเพื่อนๆ 5 - 6 คน ที่นัดพบกันเพื่อชิมอาหารกลางวัน เราผลัดกันเลือกร้านอร่อยๆ ไปนั่งคุยกันสบายๆ แลกเปลี่ยนข่าวสาร ความคิดเห็น แล้วแยกกันไปอย่างอุ่นใจ จนกระทั่งพบกันครั้งใหม่

ในจุดมุ่งหมายการนัดพบเราคือรสชาติอาหารกับการสนทนา จึงพยายามเลือกร้านที่เปิดเพลงเบาๆ หรือไม่เปิดเลย ประเภทไม่เปิดเลยนี่หายากได้ยากขึ้นทุกวัน ถ้าผู้อ่านท่านไหนรู้จักช่วยแนะนำด้วย จะเป็นพระคุณอย่างยิ่ง

เคยได้ยินมาว่า วัฒนธรรมการเปิดเพลงดังลั่นจนกลบความคิด เริ่มมาจากเทคนิคของร้านอาหารบางประเภทในประเทศตะวันตกที่ต้องการให้ลูกค้าหมุนเวียนเร็ว เพราะดนตรีที่ดังและจังหวะแรงเร้า มีผลทางจิตวิทยาให้กินเร็ว ลุกเร็ว ไม่อ้อยอิ่งให้เปลืองที่นั่ง จะคุยกันให้เสียเวลากินก็ต้องตะโกนเอา ตะโกนได้ไม่กี่น้ำก็ยอมแพ้กันไปเอง

นอกจากนั้นแล้ว การดึงการรับรู้ทั้งหมดมาไว้ที่ประสาทหู ทำให้รสอาหารไม่จำเป็น ต้องละเมียดละไมนัก

ช่างเป็นวัฒนธรรมการกินที่เป็นลบอย่างยิ่งต่อทั้งระบบย่อย ประสาทหู และรสสัมผัส ร้านอาหารบ้านเรารับมันมาทั้งดุ้นโดยอาจไม่รู้ที่มา หลายร้านที่ติดลำโพงไว้ทั่ว ไม่ให้คนกินหนีเอาหูไปหลบได้ที่มุมไหน

ถึงแม้ชอบดนตรี ชอบเพลง ชอบดูหนัง แต่ข้าพเจ้าไม่ใช้วอล์คแมน ไม่ต่อสายไอพ็อดเข้าหู ไม่เหงาเมื่ออยู่คนเดียวโดยไม่เปิดเพลงหรือโทรทัศน์ ความเงียบให้โอกาสพักหู ให้ได้ยินเสียงธรรมชาติ ได้อยู่กับตัวเองกับสิ่งรอบตัวอย่างไม่ต้องมีสื่อภายนอกมานำพาอารมณ์ และจะไม่เปิดเครื่องเสียงในรถเวลาขับผ่านทิวทัศน์ที่งดงาม เพราะพบว่าความเงียบช่วยให้ซึมซับความชื่นบานจากปัจจุบัน ตรงนั้น เดี๋ยวนี้ ได้อย่างวิเศษสุด ไม่ว่าจะเป็นทางตา หู และกายสัมผัส

ไม่กี่วันมานี้ได้คุยกับคนที่บอกว่าเคยติดเพลงอย่างหนัก ประเภทขาดไม่ได้ตั้งแต่วัยรุ่น มาช่วงหนึ่งที่ย้ายบ้าน ยุ่งเหยิงวุ่นวาย ไม่มีเวลาตั้งเครื่องเสียงอยู่ถึง 3 ปี เธอก็แปลกใจตัวเองที่สุขไปอีกแบบ เพราะเริ่มสังเกตรายละเอียดของเสียงรอบตัวที่ไม่เคยสังเกตมาก่อน จนคุ้นเคยและรู้ค่าของความเงียบ ที่น่าสนใจยิ่งไปกว่านั้นคือ รู้สึกว่ามั่นคงในตัวเองมากขึ้น

เมื่อติดตั้งเครื่องเสียงและมีเสียงเพลงในบ้านอีกครั้ง เธอก็รู้สึกเหมือนได้เพื่อนเก่ากลับมา แต่เป็นเพื่อนที่รู้จักพื้นที่และเวลาที่เหมาะสม เรียกว่าเป็นเพื่อนที่ให้อิสรภาพ ไม่ใช่เพื่อนที่พันผูกเธอไว้จนขาดไม่ได้
หลายคนใช้เพลงพากลับไปอดีตที่มีความสุข เพลงเลยกลายเป็นสายใยพันใจไว้กับความทรงจำที่หมดความเป็นจริงไปแล้ว ถ้าความทรงจำนั้นเป็นกำลังใจให้ก้าวไปในปัจจุบันอย่างงดงาม ก็วิเศษ

แต่ถ้าเป็นความทรงจำที่ทำให้โหยหาไม่รู้จบ เพลงนั้นก็เหมือนสายน้ำวนที่พัดพาเป็นเกลียวอดีตลึกลงๆ จะปีนกลับขึ้นหาพลังของปัจจุบันได้ยากขึ้นเรื่อยๆ

เหมือนสิ่งดีๆ อีกหลายๆ อย่างในโลกนี้ ชีวิตนี้ เสียงเพลงไม่ควรจะกลายเป็นสิ่งเสพติดที่ ‘ขาดไม่ได้’

มนุษย์เราถ้าขาดสิ่งใดไม่ได้ ก็เท่ากับสูญเสียอิสสระภาพทางใจให้สิ่งนั้น

Sunflowers in Bangkok

A happy Songkran to all Bangkokians. Well yes, the noise increases a little in these days, but on the whole it is happy noise (apart from the idiots and idiotesses who career around without helmets on roaring motorbikes, screaming, dousing others with water and being doused. Dear police, please stop them)
Above is a gift to quiet Bangkokians - a field of beautiful sunflowers has appeared next to the road from Nawamin to Kasetsat; yesterday morning the roadside was lined with admirers.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Suan Luang or Royal Park, becomes Suan Siang, Noise Park

Suan Luang, or Royal Park has become Suan Siang, Noise Park. A majestic park of 80 hectares on the outskirts of Bangkok, it is visited by 10,000 to 25,000 visitors on weekdays. A park of great variety and beauty it is under the administration of the Department of Social Welfare. But as has happened to other parks under city administration, at a certain stage of development of the park where a policy of maintenance would have been best, allowing nature to mature naturally, a manic and irresponsible change in policy has occurred. Loudspeakers have been installed everywhere in the park, at about thirty meter intervals and all sense of peace banished from this onetime haven of quiet. Inane radio programmes swamp the sound of leaves swaying in the breeze and birds are frightened away.

The noise we hoped to avoid follows us to this one time refuge. Park employees enter into the spirit of things and leave the doors of pick up trucks open while powerful audio systems further spew out conflicting sources of noise. Attendants in sales kiosks and toilets play radios at full blast; is this the policy of the park or is it their private initiative? It seems that all policy of restricting the circulation of motor traffic is abandoned as young people ride in threes on noisy motor cycles around the once quiet paths. When I asked one of the park attendants he admitted the changes but could not explain why they were occurring.

It was a park where children could learn about nature and quiet beauty. Now they will learn that relaxation and "fun" must be accompanied by noise.

Do the Directors of the park know anything about park administration? Are they aware that noise increases tension and blood pressure? Do they not know that parks are administered with great attention to noise levels and the limitation of noise sources?

It will only get worse as more noise will call for louder "entertainment".

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Noise and Bangkok Airport

With the opening of a new airport in Bangkok the issue of airport noise is of great interest to Bangkok's noise beleaguered inhabitants. Quiet Bangkokian has stumbled across a potential mine of information on this topic, the website of Boeing Corporation which may be accessed among the links to be found in the right hand column of this blog. This precious website gives noise data on airports throughout the world.
The only problem is that this invaluable database contains little information on Bangkok airport. The following extract is indicative of the content:

Noise Monitoring System - NONE

Flight Track Monitoring System - NONE

Noise Level Limits - NONE

Well, what did we expect? It seems that Thailand has not set any limits to airport noise or made any investment for its limitation. For that matter, the governments of Malaysia, Singapore, and Manila are equally neglectful of the sensitivity of their citizens to aircraft noise!
To dream of what might be, compare the complex system of noise limitation at Charles de Gaulle airport!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cow Bells to Remain in Mountains

Judgement has been given in the case of the cow bells, see below, "Bells of the Cows"

1. Every cow may have its own cow bell
2. At a distance of more than 100 metres from the house of the plaintiff, the cows may ring their bells for 24 hours out of 24
3. At a distance of less than 100 metres from the plaintiff's house the cows may not ring their bells from 21.00 hours until 7.00 the following morning
4. The demand of the plaintiff for 4,000 euros in compensation for the nusiance of the cow bells is refused
5. There is no right of appeal

Quiet Bangkok applauds this wise decision. By contrast, if a farmer were to come to the city and take legal action against the noise of cars, could he expect to be paid compensation and city life to come to a stop? Let each one seek out the environment that suits him best!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Quiet Restaurants 1

Ages ago, Quiet Bangkokian promised to initiate the introduction of quiet restaurants, well let us say restaurants which do not broadcast music or have a television set in the dining area. Long overdue, let us make a beginning.
Rosabieng is a very popular restaurant behind Samsen railway station. The quietest area can be reached by the right hand door after entering the restaurant area. This part is built in the style of the restaurant car of a railway train as is indicated by the Thai name. Other areas are larger and the voices of diners can be boisterous as the evening advances. Attractive railway related displays are all around. Food is excellent and moderate in price.
More to come.

Quiet Bangkokian will be ecstatic should readers introduce their own recommendations

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Nightmare of Noise at New Bangkok Airport

Coping with the nightmare of noise
Published in Nation on Oct 15, 2006
Noble Park Village Tambon Bang Phli Yai Bang Phli District Samut Prakan

Once again I woke with a start in the middle of the night because of the ear-splitting engine sound from an aircraft over my house. It was as if the plane was going to crash into our once tranquil home.
I have not had an uninterrupted night of rest at home since September 28, the day Thailand received huge media coverage for the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport, which boasts the world's largest passenger terminal and the world's tallest control tower. (I am all too familiar with such bragging; many Thais are so eager to boast they care little about the utility aspects.)
But while many Thais feel proud about the country's new airport, I have woken up to the grim fact that my peaceful life is a thing of the past. Like many other people in my neighbourhood, thundering aircraft engines have been haunting us most of the time.
I watched the clock and found that the deafening sound came every five minutes.
Actually, my family moved in to the Noble Park Village less than two years ago because we appreciated its tranquil environment. With the unbearable noise pollution from the Suvarnabhumi Airport, we are now thinking hard about whether we need to relocate again.
The noise pollution weighs heavily on my heart because my five-year-old daughter, Pinwad, has been adversely affected. From my observation, she no longer gets proper sleep anymore.
Moreover, her school is close by and also suffers from the noise pollution. (One of the main reasons behind our family's decision to move into this development was that it is near my daughter's school, meaning she would no longer have to get exhausted from so much time travelling between school and home.) When I drop my daughter off at school in the morning, I find the thunderous sound from the passing planes unbearable. How can the students cope with this noise throughout the day?
When I raised the issue with my daughter, she insisted that she would not change her school. She does not listen no matter how hard I try to explain to her that the loud noise is not good for us, especially for her because her brain is still developing at this age.
I have also turned to neighbours to complain about the noise pollution. Aporn Somprasertsuk, whose daughter is studying at the same school as Pinwad, said her family was going to move out and she would enrol her daughter at another school.
"We can't sleep at night. How can we bear with it? No. We work so hard during the day," Aporn said. "When we come home, we want to take rest and relax. But we can't do that here any more. The tranquillity is gone. Life is now full of stress. On some nights, I need to read till late at night hoping to fall asleep."
As I listened, my heart sank.
Aporn said her daughter now moved restlessly in her sleep.
"We are accustomed to a peaceful life. The noise here is too much to bear," she said.
Another neighbour said her one-month-old baby slept well but she worried whether the deafening sound would affect the child in some unnoticeable way.
She said she chose to keep her window open at night because she believes natural air is better than air-conditioning.
I myself would not dare to open the windows because even with them closed the noise pollution is already too much.
Some people told me that I would soon get used to the noise. Perhaps, I thought to myself. But now I have told myself that I will just not be resigned to such a fate.
To many neighbours and myself, the sound has become increasingly deafening. Sometimes we can't help suspect that some pilots might be ignoring rules about flying over residential areas.
As of now, we plan to contact the legal entity that manages our village. We hope to discuss the problem and find solutions. We know a large number of affected people feel the same way.
On Tuesday night, I watched the "Theung Look Theung Khon" debate show on TV, which focused on noise pollution caused by Suvarnabhumi. From what I heard, my understanding is that Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) will compensate affected residents for relocation if their area has noise levels of over 75 decibels on average each day. The compensation will be paid based on the estimated value of their present home.
For areas where the noise level averages less than 75 decibels, the AOT is going to hand out compensation for home improvements to reduce the noise, such as installing glass windows or air-conditioners.
The main condition for the compensation is that the noise level must have risen by more than 10 decibels following the opening of the new airport.
I have no idea how much the noise level has increased in my village. But from what I know, since the opening of the airport the noise pollution has subjected me to sleepless nights and has left me feeling tired at the start of my day. I have seen my daughter wake up with a start during the night. My mind feels stressed.
Really, I would like to invite AOT executives to spend a night or two at my home so that they can empathise with us.
Somroutai Sapsomboon

Response: Postbag

Coping with the Nightmare of Noise. One can only sympathise deeply with Somroutai Sapsomboon whose family suffers the abominable noise of aircraft in the vicinity of Suvarnabhumi airport (Nation, 15th October 2006). It is most unlikely that her invitation to AOT officials to spend a night in her home will either gain their notice or lead to a solution. Only mass legal action, led by KingMongut’s Institute of Technology, is likely to focus attention on the problem.
Meanwhile I presume to note the lesser problem of noise within the airport building and in its vicinity. On Thursday last I made some spot measurements at the entrance to and within the terminal. I am pleased to report that the noise levels were less than in Don Muang, registering an average of 73 decibels.While this is not grossly excessive it is still too loud for comfort and improvements are required. The factors which are limiting the noise at present are the high ceiling area which is not reflecting the sound down, the absence of a public announcement system, of useless radio and television outputs. Most of the noise appears to originate from high spirited and vociferous passengers. May I propose that the airport authorities abstain from any measure which would increase the present level of noise and set a target of reducing the average noise level by an easily achievable one decibel per year. This is a barely noticeable improvement, but in three years will reduce the noise power in the terminal by a factor of two! I would propose in particular:
1. Do not install the miserable audio loudspeakers which were everywhere in Don Muang, nor the useless giant LCD videodisplays. No doubt if allowed to do so the noisemakers of Don Muang will attempt to replicate the same cacophony as before.
2. Do not allow the open sided cafes and restaurants to broadcast music. At present one is already doing so and others will follow. The result will be the noise jungle of a BTS station.
3. Stop the use of piercing whistles by those directing traffic at the terminal building, the use of visible hand signals is sufficient.
4. Attention to points 2 and 3 will probably reduce the current noise level by the one decibel proposed as an annual goal. To plan further noise reduction, have made a detailed noise map of the entire terminal and its vicinity so that the areas of excessive noise can be identified and the sources suppressed.
None of these measures involve expense beyond the normal administration of the terminal. The entire environmental budget can instead be directed to solving the far greater problems of environmental degradation in Ladkrabang
Danthong Breen
People who Love Quiet Club

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bells of the Cows, Melody of the Mountains or Noisy Nusiance?

In the midst of Bangkok's symphony of noises, Quiet Bangkokian sometimes dreams of quiet Summer days in the mountain with only the delightful sound of a cowbell in the distance......

In a small French mountain village called “Huguets” there is total stand off between farmer Pascal Francoz and his neighbor, Daniel Brault. The bells of the peaceful cows of the first agitate day and night under the windows of the second who is a draftsman. The ringing of the bells are the origin of a bitter quarrel between the two which with the passing of years has become the symbol of a battle between rural and urban people. The bells are an “instrument of work” and the “music of our mountains”, proclaims the farmer with the support of all agricultural organizations. A “harmful sound effect”, retorts his neighbor, citing in support medical and social expertise, according to which the noise exceeds the tolerance level by 5 decibels.

The matter was brought, on Thursday October 5, before the judge of the magistrates' court of Aix-the-Baths. Arriving with his supporters to the sound of cowbells, Pascal Francoz deposited an inoffensive small bell with crystalline tinkling on the desk of his lawyer, while Daniel Brault exhibited on his side a model having a definitely less delicate sound. “This lawsuit is not a lawsuit against the bells, nor against pastoralism”, asssured his lawyer, Me François Bern, to indignant exclamations of the public. “We like the bells which are part of the Savoyard culture. The noise of the bells is a melody for those who walk in mountains. But when it enters on your premise, in your living room, in your bed room. [“Ouh! Ouh!” shouted the public], when it is there in the morning when one rises, at midday when one has lunch, the evening when one lies down, and one does not manage to find sleep… then it becomes a harmful effect. The cows have an undeniable talent. But if Rostropovitch came to play the violoncello under my windows, the first evening, I would be charmed, the second a little less, and if it continued on every day and every night of the year, I am sure that that would finish by my boiling over completely! “, he observed. Against the farmer, who has “7 hectares of ground” and who refuses, according to him, to take “minimal measurements”, the lawyer asked the court to impose a perimeter on the animals and to grant 4.000 euros of damages to Daniel Brault. In response to these arguments, Me Pierre Perez, the lawyer of the farmer, answered by exhibiting the certificates of several neighbors, certifying on their honour that “in the memory of man” the cows of Saint-Offenge-Below always carried cowbells, and that “they had never caused annoyance to anyone”. His client, he affirmed, showed goodwill, by withdrawing right now about fifteen bells leaving only a few to tinkle on the necks of his animals. In response to the expert opinions offered he opposed the counter-evaluation of the mayor - “the poor mayor spent almost the whole night there! ”. he concluded with a gentle sigh. “It is thus with serenity that I ask you to reject the complaint of the plaintiff and to advise him to settle elsewhere”, concluded Me Perez. Into his file for the judge, he inserted a judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal of Riom on September 7, 1995, which rejected a complaint for “abnormal disorders of the vicinity” deposited against the owners of one hen house: “Considering the hen is a harmless and stupid animal, so much so that no one has succeeded in training it, not even a Chinese circus; that its vicinity comprises much silence, apart from some tender clucks and cackles that range from a merry sound (laying of an egg) to serene (tasting of an earth worm), unless thrown into a panic (seeing of a fox); that this peaceful vicinity could inconvenience only those who, for other reasons, nourish a grudge against the owners of these chickens. The court will not judge on the complaints of the boat against the sailor, the flour against the baker, the violin against the leader of the orchestra, or the inhabitant of the locality against a hen”.

For the bell and the neighbor, the court decision will be given on November 7.

As reported in Le Monde, 7th October 2006